NORAZ Poets is a nonprofit poetry organization based in Northern Arizona now aimed at youth and senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
It was founded in Sedona, Arizona in 2003 by the late poet Christopher Lane, who served as the organization's executive director. The group is run by a seven-member advisory board.
The group ran weekly poetry open mics, biweekly and monthly poetry slams, poetry workshops, featured poetry readings, poet in residence programs in Northern Arizona high schools, maintained a Web site with a calendar of events and several book partnerships, which sold local poets' work in Northern Arizona bookstores. The group networked two poetry slams: FlagSlam in Flagstaff and VerdeSlam Sedona, Arizona and has a reputation in the national slam poetry scene for treating touring poets with great respect, with booking events, transportation to and from performances and venues, and lodging at the homes of members of the local poetry community.
Poetry organizers in Northern Arizona had sent slams teams to the National Poetry Slam since 2001, officially representing Flagstaff, although the team's members were from various parts of the region. Between early 2004 and mid-2007, the team competed in local, regional and national poetry slams under the banner "Team NORAZ".
NORAZ Poets is one of the only rural and regional poetry organizations in the United States.
The organization earned nonprofit tax status in February 2005.
In March 2005, NORAZ Poets created the Alzheimer's Poetry Project Arizona Assignment (a branch of the national Alzheimer's Poetry Project).
Some of the poets affiliated with the group include Robin John Anderson, Jordan Sebastian Bonner, Mary Carvell Bragg, the late Rochelle Brener, Portlin Cochise, Rebekah Crisp, Patrick David DuHaime, Gary Every, Josh Fleming, Dom Flemons, Nick Fox, Karyl Goldsmith, Jesse Dyllan Grace, Christopher Fox Graham, Andy "War" Hall, Dee Hamilton, Brent Heffron, Mary Heyborne, Cass J. Hodges, Aaron Johnson, Jarrod Masseud Karimi, Erik John Karpf, Suzy La Follette, the late Christopher Lane, Eric Larson, David "Doc" Luben, William Mawhinney, Douglas McDaniel, Karen Guevara, Logan Phillips, John Reid, Betteanne Rutten, David Ward and Mikel Weisser.
In mid-2007, NORAZ Poets effectively ceased its poetry slam activities. Flagstaff area poetry slam events were then taken up by FlagSlam, led by Ryan Brown, John Cartier, and Frank O'Brien. Sedona and Verde Valley area poetry slam events were then taken up by Gary Every and Christopher Fox Graham.
NORAZ Poets uses its 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit umbrella for the Young Voices Be Heard and Alzheimer's Poetry Project Arizona Assignment Projects.
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